The series follows the Shannon family as they travel 85 million years into the past and starred Jason O'Mara, Shelly Conn, Christine Adams, Allison Miller et al. The series is initially set in 2149, a time when overpopulation and declining air quality worldwide threatens all life on Earth. After scientists discover a rift in spacetime, they begin sending people in a series of "pilgrimages" 85 million years into Earth's Cretaceous past, to a different "time stream". The series focuses primarily on the lives of the Shannon family (Jim, his wife Elisabeth, and their three children Josh, Maddy, and Zoe) as they join the Terra Nova colony in the prehistoric past. The phrase "Terra Nova" means "New Earth", both in Latin and in a few descendent languages.